Para-colonial – Colonial – Post-colonial: Influences and Transactions in the Architecture of Oceania

'Raising the Union Jack in Apia', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 2-Sep-2014

Call for Papers:

Para-colonial – Colonial – Post-colonial: Influences and Transactions in the Architecture of Oceania (1840–1990)

Joint symposium convened by Christoph Schnoor (Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand) and Michael Falser (Technical University, Munich, Germany) 

The beginning of global contact with the South Pacific is often automatically associated with the first explorative travels of James Cook in the 18th century. However, it was the late 19th century which culminated in a complex process of multinational developments, backwards and forwards, battles even. Imperialist interests already dated back many centuries, but in realising the trading potentials in this part of the world, the major colonising powers – such as Great Britain, France, USA, the German Reich and others – occupied and took ‘possession’ of island countries in the Pacific during the latter part of the 19th century. This development reached its first peak around and after 1900. However, before this direct colonial impact, trading firms and missionaries had already caused a first – ‘para-colonial’ – wave (indirect, not yet official colonial), introducing and implementing foreign concepts and customs. This dynamic process of constant negotiations and change of power continued well into the first half of the 20th century: in the context and aftermath of the First World War, countries neighbouring the Pacific from the west, east and south – like the USA and Japan to Australia and New Zealand – took over Mandated Territories from collapsing German colonies in the region, but at the same time acted themselves as de-facto colonisers in the concerned island countries from the Marianne Islands to Papua-New Guinea all the way to Samoa. Today, the impact of these 100 years of para-colonial, colonial and postcolonial experiences of more than a century is still widely felt. The recent apology for the dawn raids of the 1970s offered by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects this.

Knowledge on colonial architecture in the South Pacific is still sparse. Connections with pre- colonial settings and the post-colonial afterlife of this built legacy are often missing. In this sense, this call for papers particularly welcomes contributions within the targeted time span c. 1840– 1990, embedded in the larger South Pacific region. These contributions would attempt to link their concrete architectural case studies of buildings, ensembles and urbanist projects with reflections on the influences of and transactions between locals and foreigners, colonials and colonised, and their changing allegiances, even across changing political powers.

Contributions to the symposium will be published in form of conference proceedings or as a peer-reviewed themed volume.

Additional information can be found in the full call for papers, which can be downloaded below.

Please submit your abstracts no later than 10 January 2022 via email to conference email:

CFP_Architecture of Oceania (1840-1990),  Auckland-NZ  29 June – 1 July 2022